Liverpool have entered talks with Ajax, making a “concrete approach”, according to UOL Esporte in Brazil, and Erik Ten Hag fears about his former side replacing him.
The Brazilian report states Antony “wants to leave for English football” this summer. Manchester United, Newcastle United and Liverpool are all in contact.
The Magpies are supposedly out of the race to sign him while neither of England’s top two clubs have yet to make an offer.
Significantly, the attacker ”prefers the giants Liverpool and Manchester United” while the Red Devils have the “advantage” of having hired now-former Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag.
Liverpool have reportedly been courting the Brazilian since his Sao Paulo days and Jurgen Klopp has made “frequent follow-ups” to track his progress and maintain a strong relationship.
Reportedly, the Reds want to resolve Mohamed Salah’s future as he is still in a contract standoff with the Egyptian although one report states that it may soon come to a close with the forward expected to sign a deal worth in excess of £80million over four years.
Once that is done, Liverpool will consider how best to “advance the conversations for Antony” with Ajax expecting to negotiate a price between ’50 and 60 million euros’ (£51m).
It will be a fascinating transfer to follow as Sao Paulo reportedly hold a financial interest in the matter with 20% of the profit going to the Brazilian outfit.
For example, if the forward is sold for €60million, the profit would be €44million after they pocketed €16million for his sale to the Amsterdam outfit.
Ten Hag told De Telegraaf that he fears Ajax will struggle to replace Antony without a readymade high-quality option to take the no.11’s place in the starting XI.
He said: “If Antony were to go, it would be a loss for Ajax. You have no-one in the current squad who can take over his position. He is top class.”
Signing Antony would solve that exact problem for Liverpool. As the 2-1 win over Southampton proved, Jurgen Klopp’s side does not have a deputy to cover Mohamed Salah on the right-wing.
It’s rarely an issue as the Egyptian has such an impeccable injury track record since joining Liverpool in 2017 for £34.3million – for the 252 games he has played for the Reds, Salah has only missed a total of 3 games due to injury.
While Salah’s goalscoring is exceptional – the best in England since he joined the Reds with 155 goals – his ability to remain fit despite playing huge volumes of football is what makes him elite.
Where the likes of Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane battled to stay fit over the last five years, Salah has been routinely available to Jurgen Klopp in Liverpool’s transformed fight in search of silverware.
Adding Antony to the mix – both as an eventual successor and initial deputy – Liverpool would emulate the effect Luis Diaz has had on the side by ensuring their ability to win every game presented to them remains unscathed in the event Salah’s fitness ever wavers.
He is currently fighting to be fit for the Champions League final which takes place in 9 days at the Stade de France in Paris.